My video interviews with Kevin Hartz of Eventbrite and other distinguished innovators

In the beginning of my career as a journalist in print media, I had the opportunity of interviewing big Brazilian names. But it was between 2009 and 2014 that I had the most exciting business adventure I could dream of. Not only did I get to interview some of the most innovative entrepreneurs and investors of the world, I also got to manage a media and events company that, with some lessons learned from these guys, took me to very privileged backstage conversations and collaborating with amazing companies in different countries.

The website where I used to publish such interviews still exists on Startupi.com.br but we sold and exited the operation in 2015. Only some pieces of content are in English but you can activate your browser translation to understand what´s written there.

Without further do, here is a recollection of some conversations that I managed to capture on video. Some videos were not planned but, as a startup blogger, I knew better to at least save for personal reference even when the audio is not well captured.

Below are some of my favorite video interviews with people at Eventbrite, Alibaba, Zendesk, Spotify, Rovio, BuzzFeed, Stanford University, GoPro, Evernote, Prezi, Kaltura, UP Global. Notice: some of these people might have different titles or jobs now and the news shared are not news anymore.

Kevin Hartz, Eventbrite

Alex Tsai, Alibaba

JD Peterson, Zendesk

Gary Liu, Spotify

Peter Vesterbacka, Rovio (Angry Birds)

Scott Lamb, BuzzFeed

Mike Lyons, Stanford University

Nick Woodman, GoPro

Phil Libin, Evernote

Peter Arvai, Prezi

Shay David, Kaltura

Dave Parker, UP Global

5 simple ways to get 25 meaningful conversations this week

This is a story – well, maybe just the start of one – about people like me who don´t always prefer cold, generic, simplified lists over going out into the world and being with people. Sometimes we might come up with a list that allows for a lot of context and meaning. A.k.a. true connection, a.k.a. relationship.

Today, I came up with one of those. It states that this week I am going to:

  • say congratulations to these 5 people who I noticed did something worthy: __________, __________, __________, __________ and __________;
  • say thank you to these 5 people who have somehow helped me out: __________, __________, __________, __________ and __________;
  • ask please to these 5 people who can help me: __________, __________, __________, __________ and __________;
  • ask can I help you to these 5 people who I think need a hand at something: __________, __________, __________, __________ and __________;
  • invite these 5 people to do something cool (preferably not just the usual coffee meeting talk about business; change that for an ice cream and it becomes different): __________, __________, __________, __________ and __________.

And then I am going to have 25 meaningful conversations with meaningful people. I can do one task from each list everyday so I get a variety and I can make it work really simple by focusing on only 1 of each category. Who cannot come up with names for such lists? And what are the surprises hidden behind each act of connecting? Of course, quality matters more than numbers. Does holding the door for someone or other ordinary things count in that list? That´s up to each one; I think a successful, happy life is a consistent succession of small things that are great together.

Steve Jobs – Ask

"Most people never pick up the phone and call."- Steve Jobs

Posted by Goalcast on Tuesday, December 13, 2016

If I can pull this off and make it a habit, maybe I don´t ever need to worry about lists again, including to-do lists. This could be good especially for those who are customer discoverers or business developers in general. But more than that: this is just how life goes, I guess. Anyone can be happy when they have 25 meaningful conversations in a week. I think the world would already be a better place for everyone if we could have 5 of these, one of each category. If I do that on purpose. I think it is important to build a world around recognizing good deeds, gratitude, support and fun.

5 ways to connect

When that becomes an automatic behavior, a modus operandi, I don´t even need to remember the list. It´s not about writing lists or having them checked. This hack is about nudging myself into nudging other people. I decided to share this not because I find it original or breakthrough. I just find it a good perspective about life, a good way to “plan” what you are going to do in a week, how your life is going to be like.

Following this idea for a year would give me 52 weeks of 5 to 25 meaningful moments. These add up to potentially 1,300 very welcome interactions! That is a strong perspective in a world of intrusion and lack of attention! Even if I take 2 weeks off (and don´t have any meaningful connections during those) and only made 5 connections every other week, at least I got 250 of those. Make any of those things everyday and you have meaning 365 days in a year, everyday in your life.

What a week, what year, what a life!

Going B is the new going big: leaders become bcorps and bcorps become public companies

For years I have been advocating on something that even the corporate mastermind Michael Porter calls “the case for letting business solve social problems”. We should do it not just because it can be profitable, but because businesses have efficiency at scale whereas nonprofits have efficacy – and government, well, has to trade off.

Luckily for me and you, everyone and the planet, and luckily for capitalism itself, there is a worldwide movement called B Corporations that supports and certifies companies which employ a series of progressive practices. Criteria include taking better care of workers, community, clients and the world at large – embracing economical, social and environmental benefits. Some governments already have regulated the incorporation of such special businesses that intend to be the best for the world (that´s how they believe they become the best in the world).

Going B: who is certified

“You may say I´m a dreamer, but I´m not the only one”: the official directory lists 2026 certified b corps accross 130 industries in 50 countries. Only in Brazil, where I come from, 45 companies have certified as #bcorps and they are not only nonprofits: the list includes the giant Natura, investment firm Vox Capital and famous web startups like Geekie and 99jobs. In Canada, where I am living, there are 170 certified b corps. The list includes famous brands like the Ian Martin Group, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and the social media technology champion Hootsuite – which is poised for an IPO.

Going big: trading publicly through IPO

Speaking of publicly traded companies, February 2017 saw the Laureate Education benefit corporation raise USD 490 million by offering its shares in the Nasdaq stock market. The world famous e-commerce platform Etsy is also a certified b corp and a public company.

It all means “don´t do evil”, planting a tree or volunteering some hours is not enough to do good and to do well. The world, management and capitalism have all evolved so much in the past decade in order to respect requirements and foster true prosperity. Now it is time to evolve our mindset, our skillset and our public debate. We are past a matter of doubting whether going good works and pays off. Because, honestly, how many companies grew and became public and are not that well or interesting for the world.

Going #bcorp is the new going big. Big as in tough, big as in bold, big as in great.